Radio Daze : 8 – Type O Negative

My high school friend Bryan came back home after a summer away. He had a cassette tape with all sorts of new metal tunes on it. There was this one with some lyric like: “Lick me she begged, she pulled down my head… I LOVE TO EAT PUSSY! A taste so fine like sweet April wine, I won’t trade for any money”. 

Well! Wasn’t THAT something for teenager me to hear!

We had no idea who it was – no Shazam in those days, kids. We at first thought it was Sodom, but I checked one of their albums out and it was no where near the same style let along song. Eventually I found out it was the band Carnivore, the pre-Type O Negative band for Peter Steele.

I admit, I like Carnivore. Yes, it’s all the horrible things you say it is… it’s a cartoon, a reflection of the time. It’s art, like it or don’t. I mean come on! They’re dressing up like some sort of Mad Max post-nuclear apocalyptic cavemen! They look like jackasses! It’s goofy! Do you really think this is serious? 

Well… the music is (kinda). You start to get the feel for where Peter was going. Listen to him croon on “Male Supremacy“. It’s Conan. It’s Dungeons & Dragons. It’s the stuff goth girls swoon for. Proto-Type-O.

Mark “Psycho” Abramson at Roadrunner was my radio rep and he knew I dug Carnivore. He got me this early copy of a demo from a band called Repulsion, which was going to be Peter’s next thing. The name was already taken, so they switched to Type O Negative, and the rest is history. It was cool to get the early peek into that project. 

I also remember being at a Pantera / Wrathchild America show at The Bayou. During the show, Phil Anselmo called out a dude in the crowd he saw with a Carnivore shirt. Backstage after the show, I spoke with Phil about it and he brought up the Repulsion stuff, which we then talked about for a bit.

Never got to see Type O live nor met Peter. Was always fascinated by his early distain and later embrace of Catholicism (I’m sure in part because of Nettie).

Radio Daze : 7.5 – Red Decibel Records, Part 2 The Coup de Grace

Red Decibel Records (Discogs) was the project of Jake Wisely. I really loved this label and their output. Their radio rep, Brent Ashley, was really cool and we developed a solid relationship. He sent me not just normal album releases, but special run 7″ and 10″ records, posters, various cool stuff. Note that a lot of their stuff was Minneapolis music scene.

Album cover poster

Their band I really got into? The Coup de Grace.

The Coup started as a traditional metal band (“Daylight Dawning“, “Barbed Wire“), but later albums took a “lighter” turn (still good rock, but not as metal). Jimmy Mecherle – also known as Jimmy Coup – was singer, guitarist, songwriter. In later years Jimmy would play with Andrew W.K. as well as do a lot of Thin Lizzy related things. I dug The Coup a LOT. That debut album still is awesome to me. “Daylight Dawning” is classic, and of course I learned to play that on my guitar.

Steve Prue, Mark Abramson; Roadrunner Records

One college summer I went to NYC to see The Coup play. Just me, traveling by myself from DC to NYC to see The Coup play. I used the time to visit some of my industry peeps: Mark “Psycho” Abramson & Steve Prue (both at Roadrunner); my reps from Mechanic, Big Chief, others. I had never been to NYC before, and I was young and stupid. Some the reps needed to go somewhere, so I piled into the backseat while one of them stopped off to pick up a big bag of weed. He later told me to just go to this reggae music store, raise your finger in a “1”, and well… I walked out with a dimebag of my own.

?, Kurt, Jimmy, Steve, Brent. The red tie-dye shirt was a #IYKYK thing. I had one and wore it often.

Later that evening I met up with Brent at a club where The Coup were playing. Watched the show. Met the guys. Hooked ’em up. Everyone was hip to rolling back to Rita’s place (Brett and Rita were trying to get together…). We all get back to her place, Jimmy rolls, we pass the dutchie. Had a nice evening. Steve (guitarist) was sitting next to me and all night would look at me and say “thanks for the bake, man” 🙂 They were very kind people. Good dudes. I also remember not meeting the drummer until the next morning –  he was sleeping in the van with their gear. That was the moment I learned that was a thing bands (have to) do. We shared some coffee and talk in the kitchen that morning. Then I headed out.

Before we went to Rita’s tho, Jimmy was hungry and he wanted to grab a bite to eat. I don’t recall the exact time, but it was wee hours… 1 AM? 2 AM? He invited me along. I was surprised? “You can get food at this hour?” “Dude, this is New York City… of course you can!”. And off we went in search of, as Jimmy put it, the BOLDEST sandwiches. We found a bodega, got some BOLD-ass sandwiches, sat on milk crates in the sidewalk, ate and talked with Jimmy of The Coup de Grace.

I was rockin’ and rollin’ and having a grand time. What an experience! That here at age 50 I can still recall it so well… yeah, it’s a core memory.

Steve, you’re welcome, man. ❤️

Radio Daze : 7 – Red Decibel Records, Part 1

Cool show poster

Red Decibel Records (Discogs) was the project of Jake Wisely. I really loved this label and their output. Their radio rep, Brent Ashley, was really cool and we developed a solid relationship. He sent me not just normal album releases, but special run 7″ and 10″ records, posters, various cool stuff. Note that a lot of their stuff was Minneapolis music scene.

Drop Hammer were a solid thrash metal band, very traditional sound.

Libdo Boyz were more of a punk band. Brent told me their album “Opgu” was named because one of the guys had a hat with “Top Gun” on it but the “T” and “n” came off so… Opgu. I had the Godzilla Barracuda 10″ – it went to a good home during the move to Bryan. I would dare say I probably had the biggest collection of Red Decibel product outside of perhaps Jake and/or Brent (thanks TO Brent and Jake).

Distribution via Metal Blade. Nice.

Rapscallion I thought were pretty cool. Avant-garde, if I can use a term. Debut album, “Gardens of Machinery” was more traditional sounding, if you could even call it that. Sophomore effort “Chameleon Drool” was more eclectic and I’m sure would never appeal to the mainstream, but I liked it in part for how offbeat it was. I remember the back cover with the track listing was printed all wrong, so I made an index card with correct listing – this was WXJM’s CD, so it needed to be accurate for the DJs.

They had other bands like Walt Milk (didn’t know much from them, I think I only had a 7″), Season to Risk (pretty cool), Fat Tuesday (another interesting “artsy” band, but it was cool), I recall an industrial band Bloodstar. But the band I really got into? The Coup de Grace.

In Part 2 I’ll talk about The Coup de Grace and my solo trip to NYC to see them, getting stoned with the band, and enjoying the boldest sandwich of my life with Jimmy.

Yo Brent. How’s Judy?

Winter 2022 Programming

This is about lifting weights, what I’ve been exploring in my program, how it’s paying off, and where I want to go next.

Explorations

I’ve been lifting for hypertrophy; no more 5/3/1 (tho principles always remain, especially start light, progress slowly). It’s been about 3.5 months and 4 3-“week” mesos (I lift MWF). It’s basically an upper/lower A/B split. I started with a “powerbuilding” approach, trying to squat/bench and other heavy stuff for progressions.

In time I had to stop squatting because my current shoulder mobility makes it hard to get into position for back squatting and starts to put a lot of strain on my wrists, elbows, and shoulders – excruciating pain, which I’m not hip to dealing with again. So, more leg pressing.

I also found myself following Paul Carter’s stuff again, looking things like “effective reps” and keeping it to maybe 3×5-8 work.

Payoff

Not squatting has been good for me. My body feels better: knees not so stiff, wrist/elbow/shoulder pain gone (well, the squat-induced pain; my left hand/wrist still has other issues, which are better but still present). Plus quads are getting bigger. I use the Cybex Plate Loaded Squat Press, which is awesome. On Lower A day, I put on my squat shoes (elevated heels), feet low on the plate, quad-bias. On Lower B, Chucks (flat sole), feet high, glute bias. Working up to something heavy, 8 reps RPE 9-10 sort of thing. I think I was getting to a point of too much heavy leg work because I was feeling it (stiff, achy, not fully recovering). I’ve started to cut back on the pure volume, as I don’t need as many warm-up sets now as I’m more in the groove of this movement. Slowly adding weight, just taking my time to work up into it – start light, progress slowly.

FWIW, I never thought much of the leg press. I always hated it. It was always a lesser/secondary to squatting. I do think the particular machine helps (vs. other styles of leg press machine), but it’s more having to make this a primary movement and working to wring out the most from it. It’s not an afterthought movement… I’m glad I’m coming to better appreciate the old leg press. It then touches on two things:

First, Paul Carter. While sometimes Paul’s online communication approach rubs me the wrong way, I’ve long appreciated his coaching and knowledge; his teaching is probably 2nd behind Wendler for me. His most recent thing is around “effective reps”. I’ve been exploring that, aiming for 5-8 rep sets to failure (or very close to it). Also, 3 minutes rest between sets. Pushing this hard has been… different. It’s taken a while to work up to where I am, and I’m still not feeling like I’m really pushing it… I’m getting there, but not there yet. And the results are so far solid.

I mean, I can feel more “boulder” with my biceps. I am quite aware of more pectoral, especially clavicular – thank you John Meadows 20º incline bench pressing. I can see my calves popping (both gastroc and soleus). Delts are getting wider. I’ve got hamstrings. Shit’s growing.

Second, less/reducing volume. I was doing more volume – in terms of simple sets & reps, and weight – because I know roughly how much stimulus I need to “stimulate, not annihilate”. Well, as things are getting heavier, as I push more towards true failure, I really need less “overall volume” in favor of “effective volume”. So I’m dropping some warm-up sets – it’s not much, but it all adds up (I don’t need those warm-ups, like going from incline benching to JM press, I was doing a few more warm-up/light sets to learn the movement, but I basically feel I have the groove so I just go right into the work sets).

Also, I’m still getting stronger – the one major indicator is my incline benching. I just did 265×3@8.5, which is all time PR. The fun thing about doing very different exercises (than SBD/P) is there’s all new PRs to set! Plus, I’m really trying to make the # on the bar be a secondary thought: not what I pursue, but a nice thing when it happens. Like to incline 300 will be pretty cool… give me a year, since I’m enjoying plodding along 5# per meso, and that will stall at some point (probably 280, based on how that 265 moved). Still, I’ll get there.

So getting bigger, getting stronger, and not feeling so beat up all the time. What’s not to like?

Next

I’ve been debating if I should replace the Lower B leg press (high-feet, glute) with something like RDLs. It was the “too much” factor. But reducing some of the volume on leg pressing has helped. If I can continue to reduce that volume while still making gains, great. I may still switch, we’ll see. But I’m enjoying this leg pressing stuff so… we’ll see.

I do want to continue to reduce “volume” where I can.

I want to keep doing my “yoga”. That’s been not an everyday thing, but I am more sensitive to it and do these moves and stretches more often. I of course can still improve here. But no question this helps all the things.

But for the most part, I’m going to keep on. It’s pretty simple progression for the most part: 3×5-8@9-10 is the goal. Trying to do “as little as I can” in terms of volume, but pouring that much more into every single rep. It’s a slow progression for me, just keep adding weight & reps each session (e.g. 1 more pound, 1 more rep) and just keep pushing it. Over time, it’ll all catch up. Then I can reset, new exercises, etc. So just keep going until it’s time to not keep going.

Diet

This is been interesting. I’ve been tracking my intake (roughly) with Macrofactor. I’m not strictly following it, it’s more a visibility and accountability thing for me. The app has some good parts, but annoys me a bit too (speaking as an iOS developer for many years). Still, it’s helped me hone in on some things. I can validate that if I basically aim for 50g protein 4x/day and make sure I do that, I’ll be in good shape. Then eat the carbs and fat my body needs, don’t go overboard. And don’t snack or overdo it. That’s the big one that I’m struggling with as it’s massive habit to overcome. But I’m recognizing it and having more successes than before so… it’s coming along.

Really? I need to become comfortable with being hungry, both literally and figuratively. That will change everything. It’s slow progress, but that’s still progress.

Radio Daze : 6 – Q101 & Froggy99

If I was going to work in radio, I needed to work in radio. WXJM was cool, but it was college radio – I needed to move into commercial. Q101 was the big local station, whose format I’ve described as Top40 with Adult Contemporary leanings – the kind of thing you hear in a doctor’s waiting room, with Rick Dees every Sunday morning. I was John Williams, and often did the 12a-6a overnights and weekends. I was the FNG so I got the shit shifts. But I had a blast.

The format was fine. I got my dose of Celine Dion, developed an appreciation for Taylor Dayne, played Sophie B. Hawkins “Damn, I wish I was you lover” a lot, and that “I would walk 500 miles” song. “What Is Love” just… oh that song! Have I told you lately that I love you? It was prescribed – I had a list. I played was I was told… mostly. Occasionally timing changed and I’d get to pick my own song to fill, or maybe things go long and I cut. But for the most part, I just spun the CDs, loaded the commercial carts, gave a weather break.

Weather breaks. So we would do something like: “In Harrisonburg it’s 75º, Wayneboro 77º, Staunton 72º… it’s time to Come Undone with Duran Duran on the Q…!” <hit station ID jingle bumper> <spin Duran Duran>. Those temps? The station had a “weather station” on the building, so the Harrisonburg temp was the temp at the station. Then the other two were made up, always within a couple degrees. Seriously. I was told to do that (and so I did that). Yes, I was flabbergasted. I was there to gain experience, and experience I gained.

One year there was a nasty blizzard. There in The Shenandoah Valley, snowdrifts up to my waist, it was nasty. I had to get into the station so I could help run things – you kids and your cellular push notifications! I had to go out into the blizzard to get to the station… that was precarious in a 1983 Ford Escort hatchback. But people needed relief so in I went. I was reading all the closures, taking calls to learn about closures. If you wanted to know what was open or closed, you tuned into the radio. It was cool to be of service to the community, not just entertaining and advertising. It was cool to be a DJ.

But really, it was all about talking over that song intro and “hitting the post” of ending the talk right as the singing starts. Even today, when Kix’s “Girl Money” comes on, I have to intro it – it’s just that sort of song intro. Oh and… I refuse to “kick things off…”; that’s a tired segue.

Q101 had other interesting things too. You’d have regulars that would always listen, call you up. Some of them too young (I recall some dude got canned and maybe arrested over something with a young caller…). Some not so young… and while I had an opportunity, I didn’t do it. So she did another DJ. I know because I was doing my airshift and the other DJ came in to cut some commercials… but his sweats were stuck to his crotch, having just come from spending time with her. Good times.

John Williams was a hasty decision. I showed up for my first shift, introduced myself to the dude who was about to sign off and hand it over to me. He was getting ready to go into his last break, cocked his head back my way: “Kid, what’s your name?” Oh shit! I hadn’t thought of my on-air name! The first thing that came into my head? John Williams (I’m sure due to the composer). And it stuck. Not what I would have chosen if I had the opportunity to put thought into it, but I didn’t. And I don’t know what name I would have chosen, because I had chosen so it was an answered question.

The hot young afternoon drive-time DJ was Dennis Hughes. At the time he was also married to Libby Gardner, the pretty young anchor on the local news (Den-by? Lib-nis?). Dennis and I got to know each other. He told me he was in a rock-and-roll band, “In Debt”, he was the drummer. He invited me to come over and jam with them. I’ll have more to share in a later installment.

Dennis wanted to move up in radio too. He had topped out this market, so he went up the road to the Winchester, VA area and got a gig at Froggy99 (I think they were 50,000 watts). He had me come up too, getting occasional shifts. I forgot my name there… we all had frog names, like “Doc Hopper” or other frog puns to roll your eyes to. It was basically the same stuff, different call sign. One winter the roads weren’t good. I was riding with Dennis in his brand new Geo Tracker. We were heading up to Froggy99 to work, when the car hit a patch of ice, slid diagonally, ending when the driver’s side parallel collided with the guard rail and caromed off. We could keep driving, just a little shook up – the car not so much. And a pisser since it was brand spankin’ new.

I was working my way up in things. I was soon to graduate from JMU and figured the logical move was into a radio gig. I heard the money, I did the math… food OR rent. Not AND, but OR. That’s not going to work. So I panicked and decided to avoid the real world for another 2 years and went to grad school. That’s how I ended up at Texas A&M.

Me and Dennis. I have no radio station pics of us together (selfies weren’t quite a thing yet), so here’s one of us playing in our band, In Debt.

Radio Daze : 5 – Last Crack

Art. Some bands aren’t about sex, drugs, nor rock-and-roll. They’re about art.

I’d classify Last Crack – and their singer/frontman Buddo – as art.

Look at the cover for “Sinister Funkhouse #17”. Listen to the intro to “Kiss a the Cold”, but then also listen to the song itself. Last Crack is different, but pretty damn awesome. I remember getting a promo VHS from the record company that had video of him acting out the Kiss-a intro, in addition to other visual artistry.

My favorite song is an unusual one: “Mini Toboggan“. It’s a sweet story told through the innocent eyes of a child, sledding in the snow with “…2 brothers and a sister we… could… fly!” I find it an amazing and moving song, well-composed, telling a powerful story.

While they were on Roadrunner, I know they did a 7″ for Red Decibel for a song I think called “P.C.T.” (Pointy Cone Titty). I don’t have that record any more, and I only listened to it a couple times because I wanted to preserve the vinyl. 

I did get to see them live at The Bayou. IIRC I went with my friend, Wayne. I just remember the crowd being sparse. Buddo was wearing one of those kinda frilly pirate shirts (see Seinfeld). It was a cool show, shame for the small crowd.

Art.

Day 211

It’s day 211 of my 100 Day Challenge. Habits are improved, tho still poor. But as I’ve said, discipline done poorly is better than none.

How are things going?

Read Every Day

This is the one I’ve sucked the most at. I’ve been reading Gym Launch Secrets and stuck on it for a while. I lost a bit of steam because of other life factors. I also don’t like how the book feels a little… slimy sales. I mean, I get it. The information in there is actually pretty solid. It does signal the reality that if I did, sales would be life. I have to figure how to sell well without feeling sales-y, y’know?

But I’m basically done reading the book. I think of my stack, The Effective Executive is most appropriate to read next.

“Yoga” Every Day

I’m better at this.

You’d be surprised how much your posture affects your… everything, really. If you don’t move your body, stretch it, put it through its paces, it will “shrivel up” and that does cause you problems.

I need to do more for my adductors, in addition to neck and upper back.

One thing I think I must finally do is update my office/desk layout for better ergonomics. I just need to figure out now what, given my needs and constraints. I know my wrist pain/issues are due in part to typing and suboptimal ergos and habits.

Workout Every Day

Gym, no problem.

Dry fire. Problem. The wrist injury has kept me from doing anything; yeah I could practice SHO, but the injury took some steam out of me too. But I did start to poke at that LCR .22. I picked up a PHLster City Special for it. The velcro backing just got delivered so I can put a little wedge/cushion behind it.

Eating – and being less fat

This is improving too. I’m doing more meal prep, which is helping with compliance. If I make sure I get at least 200g of protein every day (by rough calculations), I’m good. Biggest trick is making sure I get that protein shake in the early afternoon.

I still snack more than I should, but it’s reduced. Using Macrofactor in a semi-bastardized way, which is helping at least bring visibility. My weight is slowly trending downwards. On that tho, bodyweight is not the only factor because with my switch to a more intensive hypertrophy lifting style (heavily influenced by some recent “preachings” by Paul Carter on effective reps). There is obvious hypertrophy – which means I’m gaining muscle… I’m gaining weight. I mean, if I’m at least hanging at a bodyweight, yet I see bigger muscles and more showing through? I think that’s a sign of recomp, which is cool. Vincent Dizenzo remains an inspiration and reminder of (consistent) progress over time is what matters. Plus, I also saw something from Nick Shaw of RP that showed he had less than 100% meal/diet compliance, working towards being in the best shape of his life.

Besides, if I want to do what I want to do, I need to look the look and walk the walk. So, that’s providing me with purpose.

I’m working to become comfortable with being hungry.

Onwards

Onwards…

Slow progress is still progress.
Slow progress is still progress.

Radio Daze : 4 – Child’s Play

Child’s Play was a minor success out of where I grew up: the Greater Washington DC area. Hailing from Baltimore, they were signed to major label Chrysalis and released “Rat Race” in 1989, which is a pretty good collection of songs from “good old boys playin’ good old rock and roll”. It was nothing particularly special for the time, but it’s solid stuff. I still enjoy the album.

When I was Metal Dude at WXJM, Child’s Play was doing a local area tour. Someone in Harrisonburg had converted an old building/hotel into a rock-and-roll bar. I interviewed and saw Wrathchild America there when they did a 4-date acoustic tour (as those were the rage) to promote the “3-D” album. Saw a few other bands, including Child’s Play.

I got to sit down with Nikki Kay, John Allen, and Idzi (Brian Jack was nowhere to be found). Excellent dudes, especially John – I recall him as very considerate, humble, good dude. Honestly, I wasn’t familiar with the band much prior to this night, but I became a big fan. John played drums and sang. When introducing the song “Pay Your Dues”, John was dedicating it and called me out as a part of it – I felt special. 🙂  It was a cool moment, these rock stars calling ME out. Excellent set – high energy, kick-ass rock and roll.

I recall their manager bitching to me about various things.

He was bitching about the record company. He and the band wanted to release “My Bottle” as a single, but the record company refused and he was pissed about it. He was like “they release all these George Thorogood songs about booze, why not this?”.  Well… I can understand why. Listen to the lyrics dude! The song’s story is from the perspective of a shitty power alcoholic! “It’s my bottle, it’s my whiskey, and if I want I’ll drink it all. Ain’t nobody, gonna tell me, that I can’t drink no more!” I will agree, the song hooks like a motherfucker – it’s a bitchin’ song as far as songs go. But the story the song is telling is… not a healthy one. I don’t blame the record company for refusing, and I even knew that back then.

He was also bitching to me about Brian Jack, the singer, who of course was high on LSD – Lead Singer Disease. I really didn’t understand what he was muttering to me about, but it was evident that Brian’s behavior was chronic and problematic. I didn’t pry because it was kinda an uncomfortable moment for young naive me. Still tho… it was what it was, just surprising the manager would reveal such a thing to a rando stranger.

I was striving to be in the music biz, so that’s the biz and I might as well get used to it. LOL. It was all good in the end.

I got to take pictures. I got an autographed poster. It was a great time. I was and always will be fan. 

John, Idzi, me, Brian (behind), Nikki, sometime in the early 1990s.
John and I bonding over our name.

Radio Daze : 3 – Gene Hoglan & Dark Angel

Working as The Metal Dude at WXJM afforded me particular opportunities. When Dark Angel was promoting their album “Time Does Not Heal”, their drummer and principal songwriter Gene Hoglan was doing phone interviews. I got to do one.

All I remember was Gene being really cool. Very soft spoken. Smart dude. Not at all like you might expect from his imposing presence behind the drum kit. I actually have the recording on cassette… now I just need to figure a way to get from cassette to MP3. 🤔

When my daughter was drumming, I showed her videos of Gene (“cause I’m not cool!“). She has a Gene-autographed drum head from a Testament show in Austin in 2013.

I really love Dark Angel, especially the “Leaves Scars” album. You drew that “S” logo on math book. I drew the Dark Angel logo – we are not the same.

Autographed poster I received after the interview.
2013, probably @ Emo’s

Wrist update

My left wrist is improving. The issues have shifted, but I think I know what needs doing. The hard part will be doing it.

I can still do things. I mean, yesterday I incline benched 260×3@8 – which is a lifetime PR for me on inclines. If I wrap my wrists when it gets heavier it’s fine. In fact, what’s more bothering me now is the metacarpals due to typing.

I need to change my office/typing setup. I need to get off the laptop. Full keyboard, better monitors on swing-arms so they can be eye level and typing at a good level for head and eye position. I need better typing posture. I need better posture overall (the eternal struggle #IYKYK) yes, but posture while typing is especially needed. I think better equipment setup is an easy win. Having the UpLift helps too; happy purchase that was.

I need to stretch more, and stretch things you may not think – bending my fingers backwards to get more stretch in extended positions. My fingers are curled all the time, from lifting weights, shooting guns, typing all day every day. I have been working the extensor bands. I’ve noticed my fingers tripping over themselves more when I type these days. It’s in part due to the typing “style” due to the above setup issues, but I also feel my fingers getting stiffer. Could it be aging? Absolutely could. I don’t know what it is, but I certainly know my finger muscles themselves could use some stretching to help my fingers be less curled in relaxed positions. Just more “yoga”, more stretching and using my body.

It’s getting better. Injuries like this are an opportunity to find other ways to work, to solve, to continue progressing.

Stretching